A number of diseases require transmission from host to host via another organism, often a blood-feeding insect or tick. This vector typically picks up the parasite when it bites an infected host, then injects it into the bloodstream of the new host with a subsequent bite. In many cases, the organism also replicates in the vector, increasing its chances of infecting the next human host successfully.
The environmental engineer or scientist may especially need to be aware of diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. Certain types of water projects (dams, canals) may increase or decrease the prevalence of the waterbodies in which various types of mosquito larvae develop. Also, the use of pesticides to control mosquitoes has both provided important public health benefits from reduced disease transmission and caused serious environmental impacts on nontarget species, including humans.
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